PHOENIX -- Arizona Sen. John McCain is calling on President Barack Obama to do more to defeat ISIS.
After speaking to Arizona mayors at a luncheon in downtown Phoenix Thursday, McCain said more airstrikes are needed, and that the president needs to get tough with the terrorist group.
"We have to work to defeat them, not just stop them," McCain said. "The president used the word 'containment' yesterday. This isn't containment that's needed. It's defeat of this horrible organization that is a threat to U.S. national security."
McCain pointed to the recent beheading of American journalist James Foley as an example of the militant group's barbarism. Foley was killed after the U.S. refused to submit to the militant group's $132 million ransom request, a decision McCain, a former prisoner of war, actually supported.
"You can't do that, then it's open season on American citizens everywhere in the world," he explained to News/Talk 92.3 KTAR's Mac & Gaydos Thursday. "It's tragic that maybe we can't ransom some of these people, but it's just not something that is possible to do."
McCain said the airstrikes that Obama ordered are a start.
"He's doing some of them, but he's got to into Syria," he explained. "ISIS has spread on to both sides of the border. He's got to intensify that air campaign."
Regardless of the recent airstrikes, he accused Obama of "not leading" and having "no strategy or plan."
McCain thought there would soon be an increase of American troops on the ground as advisers in Iraq, and hopes it won't be too late.
"He somehow does not want to acknowledge that he was wrong when we didn't leave a residual force behind in Iraq, which we could have, which he now denies that we could have," he said. "We're in terrible shape, to be honest with you."
The senator also claimed that ISIS has made him a target.
"ISIS has singled me out as Enemy Number One and the cardinal crusader," he said. "That was in their first online publication."
He said he was "honored" for the "compliment."
KTAR's Lauren Berkley contributed to this report.
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